Characteristics of giftedness

(Based on research compiled by Dr. J. Renzulli)
Reprinted from the Mensa Gifted Youth Handbook
with the permission of the National Association for Gifted Children


Learning characteristics

  • Has unusually advanced vocabulary for age or grade level.
  • Has quick mastery and recall of factual information.
  • Wants to know what makes things or people tick.
  • Usually sees more or gets more out of a story, film, etc., than others.
  • Reads a great deal on his or her own; usually prefers adult-level books; does not avoid difficult materials.
  • Reasons things out for him- or herself.

Motivational characteristics

  • Becomes easily absorbed with and truly involved in certain topics or problems.
  • Is easily bored with routine tasks.
  • Needs little external motivation to follow through in work that initially excited him or her.
  • Strives toward perfection; is self-critical; is not easily satisfied with his or her own speed and products.
  • Prefers to work independently; requires little direction from teachers.
  • Is interested in many "adult" problems such as religion, politics, sex and race.
  • Stubborn in his or her beliefs.
  • Concerned with right and wrong, good and bad.

Creativity characteristics

  • Constantly asking questions about anything and everything.
  • Often offers unusual, unique or clever responses.
  • Is uninhibited in expressions of opinion.
  • Is a high-risk taker; is adventurous and speculative.
  • Is often concerned with adapting, improving and modifying institutions, objects and systems.
  • Displays a keen sense of humor.
  • Shows emotional sensitivity.
  • Is sensitive to beauty.
  • Is nonconforming; accepts disorder; is not interested in details; is individualistic; does not fear being different.
  • Is unwilling to accept authoritarian pronouncements without critical examination.

Leadership characteristics

  • Carries responsibility well.
  • Is self-confident with children his or her own age as well as adults.
  • Can express him- or herself well.
  • Adapts readily to new situations.
  • Is sociable and prefers not to be alone.
  • Generally directs the activity in which he or she is involved.